The Ted's Montana Grill restaurant in Tallahassee, Fla., located at 1954 Village Green Way, recently became the city's first restaurant to use photovoltaics (PV) - or solar power - to conserve energy. It also marks the first Ted's Montana Grill nationwide to use solar power.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla., June 4, 2007 - The Ted's Montana Grill restaurant in Tallahassee, Fla., located at 1954 Village Green Way, recently became the city's first restaurant to use photovoltaics (PV) - or solar power - to conserve energy. It also marks the first Ted's Montana Grill nationwide to use solar power.
One World Sustainable Inc., a contracting company which works to advance the use of solar energy and sustainable building technology, worked with Ted's Montana Grill to install 44 panels on the upper roof and 22 panels on the patio roof - 66 panels in total. The panels currently supply about 5 percent of the restaurant's energy needs.
George McKerrow, president and CEO of Ted's Montana Grill, said the company, which was co-founded by McKerrow and media entrepreneur and environmentalist Ted Turner, is always looking for new forms of sustainable energy.
"Ted is always challenging us to look for sustainable, alternative energy sources. Tallahassee was an ideal location because both the city and the state have strong incentives for businesses that use alternative energy sources and because we own the property and the building there," McKerrow explains.
"The power we generate goes directly back into the building to reduce energy costs," adds Ed Bazor, the company's director of construction. Other key benefits include the hydrocarbons that will be saved, a decrease in the use of power purchased and a reduction in power generated.
The state of Florida rewards businesses and individuals for promoting solar energy use with one-time rebates for solar systems - $4/per kilowatt up to $100,000 for commercial businesses. The state incentive program awarded $3 million in rebates in 2007. Additionally, the city uses a net metering system that pays businesses the same amount of money that would be charged for kilowatt hours.
"Most utilities pay for the fuel component, but net metering pays the customer for the retail cost of a kilowatt hour. This is one of the better programs in the country," said Tom Gillman, solar coordinator for the city's Energy Services division.
Gillman notes that the rise in popularity of eco-friendly energy pushes his department to expand their environmental incentives and other initiatives. "The green movement has been gaining strong momentum the last several years and, as always, we want to create programs and incentives to help meet the developing need of our customers."
McKerrow said that the company wants to take its alternative energy programs to the next level as well. His team is looking into wind energy, partnerships with other large corporations and expanding the solar panel program to other restaurants.
"We're going to evaluate the panels to see how well they work, and then we'll take a look at what other opportunities might allow us to do this in other parts of the country," Bazor adds.
Keith Freeman, vice president/chief technology officer for One World Sustainable, commended the company for this initiative. "Ted's Montana Grill has taken a real leadership role in sustainable energy development in Florida with the installation of this grid-tied solar PV system. We applaud their forward-thinking policy on energy production which not only offsets the on-site electrical requirements but can also help stabilize and eventually lower emissions such as CO2."
Ted's Montana Grill is a classic America Grill with 49 restaurants in 18 states including Alexandria and Arlington, Va.; Aurora and Denver, Colo.; Birmingham, Ala.; Bonita Springs, Jacksonville and Tallahassee, Fla.; Chicago; Columbus, Ohio; East Hartford, Conn.; Indianapolis; Kansas City, Mo.; Lexington, Ky.; Nashville, Tenn.; New York City; Omaha, Neb.; Philadelphia; Raleigh and Durham, N.C.; Wichita and Kansas City, Kan.
The company's deep commitment to the environment is a critical component of the overall concept. Menus are printed on recycled paper. The restaurants use paper straws instead of plastic, and the to-go cups made of corn starch. Soft drinks are served in recyclable glass bottles. Other measures include water-efficient toilets in many of the restaurants and powder Boraxo soap in restrooms which is 100-percent biodegradable as well as a natural hand softener. Each restaurant is non-smoking.
Ted's Montana Grill is based in Atlanta. For more information, visit www.tedsmontanagrill.com.